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The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor: A Girl with Something to HideThe Zing family is one of very eccentric people. But their strange quirks don’t completely set them apart from normal; what does is their big secret, the Zing Family Secret, something so big that the entire family meets every Friday night in the garden shed to discuss it, a secret that possibly involves illegal activities. In addition to this wacky cast of characters, there are Listen Taylor and Cath Murphy. Listen is a lonely, friendless girl whose father is dating a Zing. She always wonders what the Zing Family Secret is, but doesn’t spend too much time worrying about it. But she does stumble upon a spell book made by a Zing (though she’s unaware of that last fact) and decides to perform them, hoping they’ll ease her dreary life. As for Cath’s connection to the Zings, well, that’s what this story’s all about.

I was interested in reading The Spell Book of Listen Taylor because it sounded like a cool story in a strange way and because I absolutely loved two other books by Jaclyn Moriarty, The Year of Secret Assignments and The Death of Bindy Mackenzie. However while all the different points-of-view and random events work for those two novels, it didn’t function as well in The Spell Book of Listen Taylor. There were so many characters that I had a difficult time keeping track of all of them and even mixed them up a couple of times. On top of the numerous characters, there was just so much going on. It also became confusing when two connected events that occurred simultaneously were told from different perspectives in different places in the book. The different parts didn’t fit together seamlessly as a while. One thing I found off was that every adult female member of the Zing family either had an affair, talked about an affair they had, or contemplated having one over the course of the story (I found that shocking). Also, some of the details are incomplete; for example, the reader never finds out if Listen’s spells were actual magic or if the results happened by chance. The one thing I did enjoy about this story was gradually discovering the Zing Family Secret. However, the rest of the book was just a mass of confusion.

I recommend reading The Spell Book of Listen Taylor only is you have a great memory and a lot of patience or if you are absolutely enamored with Jaclyn Moriarty’s writing. Otherwise, I only suggest reading The Year of Secret Assignments and The Death of Bindy Mackenzie, also by the same author.

Rating: 3.25

Review copy from personal collection

1 munch(es) :

Alea said...

Yeah this does sound sort of interesting, but I can see how it would be easy to get confused. Might need a family tree or something to read it. I had a chart of characters in high school when we read Crime and Punishment!

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